Post from Kim:
I’m guessing there isn’t a person reading these words that hasn’t had a run in with a bully. Growing up, those bullies were in the school yard and had to confront us face to face.
In the 2nd grade a group of girls called me over to their game of four square. One girl looked to her friend and commanded, “Tell her.”
“Tell me what?” I asked.
“We all hate you. Now go away,” the ringleader snarked.
I asked why, and the girl said, “Just because.”
I kept it together and did what any girl of eight years would do: I ran to the bathroom and cried. I remember what I was wearing, a Rainbow Brite t-shirt and yellow shorts. The shorts were recently stained from where my “Fox and the Hound” tin lunchbox leaked on my lap. The memory is still vivid enough to sting.
There were other times: Like when I was in 6th grade and a girl pushed me into a locker. “Just because.” Again, I gathered myself. I went to the bathroom. Then, I cried.
The guy who always called me, “porker.” When I got mono and lost 15 pounds — he then called me “HIM” instead of Kim because my voice is so deep.
I know there are far, far worse stories out there. Heartbreaking stories.
Then yesterday, a post was written about my family. Here’s the link in case you want to read.
I read the whole thing (it’s surprisingly long). I went to the bathroom — but this time I didn’t cry. I got pissed.
Here, in front of me, was another bully — but this bully wasn’t powerful enough to push me into a locker or call me a name to my face. This bully wrote an entire post without even contacting us .. just put it online. I bet if this woman saw me in the grocery store with my family, she wouldn’t have the nerve to say these things to my face. I’m 38 years old and sick of being bullied. I’M DONE.
Several sympathetic friends reached out saying, “don’t worry, people are defending you in the comments” and “Don’t dignify this post with a response.”
Then I realized I by NOT commenting, I was letting this cyber-bully win.
I tried to make a comment to the actual post — but it was never approved. Hmmm… Well, here’s my comment:
“On the other side of your hateful words sits a real family, with real struggles, and real feelings. We realize by posting videos online we open ourselves to this critique. The beauty of the internet is this: IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, DON’T CLICK.”
Everyone is entitled to their opinions. We leave even the negative comments on the YouTube page, that’s how much we believe everyone deserves to be heard. But this isn’t sharing an opinion with your friend at carpool or a cocktail party, this is bullying.
Some advice was given to me; I was told to say a prayer for the bully. I did that — then got upset with myself for spending time on a prayer for this person when there are so many families that need the positive energy.
So here’s the thing that has brought me peace with this bullying experience: We have made a $500 donation to Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center charity in the name of Jezebel (the site that published the post).
I encourage you to talk to not only your kids, but your friends about cyber-bullying. After all, this hate was coming from an adult.
UPDATE: I’m moved my the support and donations to bully prevention charities. Thank you! But let’s agree that sending hurtful messages to the person who wrote the article is not advancing the situation. Thank you again for your kind words and support.